I can’t believe it is almost here, my very first Blogiversary! This Saturday the 13th of July (tomorrow!), it will be one full year since I started Label Me Organized. It feels like just yesterday that I was figuring out how this whole blogging thing works, choosing a title and writing my first posts. I guess time really does fly when you’re having a blast!
I thought it’d be nice to take a break from organization and home decor to talk a little bit about my experiences with blogging. I wanted to share what I’ve learned throughout the first year of this blog. I also wanted to set up some goals for myself for the coming year. I’m hoping that by actually recording and sharing with you all what I hope to accomplish, I will be more likely to hold myself accountable to those goals. But let’s start with what I’ve learned through my first year!
Looking Back: What I’ve Learned
Write in Your Own Voice
There are a lot of blogs out there. Like…a lot. If you want to stand apart from the millions of other bloggers, it is very important to let your readers get to know you. The way to do this through a blog is by writing in your own voice.
The blogs that I find myself hopelessly addicted to and completely drawn into, are by bloggers who let their personality shine through in every post. Reading their posts makes you feel as if you know them, and can relate to them.
I definitely struggled with this concept when I first started the blog. Many of my posts sounded like I was just typing out a user manual. There was no ‘me’ in my posts. I’m definitely still finding my voice, but when I write a post now, I make a concerted effort to write as if I were talking to a friend. This allows me to let my personality come through in my writing.
Blog at Your Own Pace
For the majority of my first year blogging, I was a full time student. I graduated in May, however I’m still taking additional courses to prepare for my career. It can be hard to find time in between classes, homework and everything else life throws at me, to find time for projecting and blogging.
I have learned that I’m not able to write 1-2 posts a day like many other bloggers. And that’s ok. I’m not a full time blogger, so I can’t expect myself to keep up with those who are. I fit blogging in whenever I can, and if that means 1 post a week for now, then that’s what gets done. My advice is find a pace that works for you and stick to it. I’ve learned that it is more important to maintain consistent quality work, than to publish 10 not so great posts each week.
Don’t Get Discouraged
For the first 2 months I was blogging, I had a grand total of 16 views (spread between 10 days) according to Goggle Analytics. Most days, I would sign in to GA to see a big ol’ goose egg for the number of visitors. I didn’t get over 15 visits in a single day until the beginning of January 2013 (6 months into blogging). To this day, I have still not managed to get over 60 hits in one day. I say this to stress that point that building up a blog is a long, slow process.
Like me, you will likely be blogging to an empty room full of crickets for a good long time before you build up any major traffic. The key is to not give up. Just keep writing, and building content, and your readers will come. I definitely had to fight the urge to just throw up my hands and yell “I quit!” on several occasions. But I’ve read enough posts like this one by other, more experienced bloggers, to know that it gets better. And you certainly won’t increase visits to your blog by throwing in the towel.
Just keep chugging along, doing your blogger thing, and one day, you’ll look back and be grateful you didn’t give up. I even learned to look at my 0-viewer status as a mini blessing. With no one reading, there was no one there to see my mistakes. So as I was figuring out the ropes of blogging, I was free to take horrible pictures, improve my writing style, mess around with my blog design every. single. day, and many other things I couldn’t do with tons of people watching. So embrace your invisibility, get dirty, make mistakes and make your blog great!
Blogging is Way More Than Writing
I think this lesson was the most shocking for me to learn. I figured, how hard can it be? You do a project, take a couple pictures, slap down some words to describe what you did and BAM! A blog is born. But there is so much more to blogging than meets the eye. Especially if you hope to build up your following.
For starters there is the design of your blog. This is one of the most challenging aspects, but the one I truly enjoy the most. I love figuring out ways to get my blog to look and function exactly the way I like it. Depending on how detailed you want to get, you may need to learn a little bit of simple coding. You also have to take about a gazillion pictures of everything you do, pick out your favorite 10 and then edit those 10 to Pinterest perfection. And speaking of Pinterest, social media is a whole other monster you have to master. Those are just a few of the major duties in the life of a blogger, but there are many, many more.
Relationships are Key
One of the best things about the blogging community is the inter-connectedness of it all. I have found this to be especially true in the DIY/decor/organization niches. Everyone is just so dang friendly! With so many people who all share a passion, everyone is willing to help everyone else. There are tons of friends out there, just waiting to be made. I must admit, with my busy school schedule I haven’t had the chance to reach out to many other bloggers, but those that I have met are all super sweet!
Forming relationships with other bloggers is a key part of blogging that should not be overlooked. Aside from the possibility of making new friends, other more experienced bloggers can help a newer blog open up their audience, or give tips and advice to improve the newer blog.
And it almost goes without saying, but besides other bloggers, you need to form relationships with your readers as well. Isn’t that what blogging is all about in the first place? Take the time to respond to comments on your posts, engage on all the various social media platforms, and respond to readers. These are the people who take time out of their day to read and support your blog, and they deserve some awesome recognition and attention for that!
And here is where I thank from the bottom of my heart all you readers who, whether you’ve been following for months or if you’re here for the first time, truly make this blog possible. You are my heroes and I am so grateful for you coming to my site, commenting on my projects, and sharing on social media. You guys are awesome! And now, here are my goals for the next year to make this blog even better for you!
Looking Forward: My Goals for the Future
More Frequents Posts
In the past year, I have written a total of 38 posts. While being a full time student, and trying to launch my life post college, it has been hard to keep up a steady stream of posts. In the last month or two, I’ve really tried to buckle down and get out at least 1 post per week. Now that I am officially out of college, I hope to increase the number of posts I publish. I’m starting myself out with a goal of 2 posts per week, a number I know I will be able to easily handle, then go from there. I’m hoping by this time next year, I’ll have gotten up to maybe 4-5 a week. But we’ll have to see how life goes!
Include More of the Personal
Like I mentioned above, the blogs that I find myself most attracted to, and most involved in, are those that include real looks into their personal life. It makes me feel like I know them, and like I am in a small way involved in their life. This makes reading their blog more enjoyable, and more of an interactive experience. That is exactly the kind of feel I would love around Label Me Organized, so I am going to try and take steps to include more of ‘me’ in the blog. The first task I’ve assigned myself for this goal is to finally get a picture of myself up on the blog. I have been meaning to do this since I started the blog, but never got around to it. So, profile picture is officially my #1 on my to-do-next list!
Like I stated above, relationships are one of the most important (and enjoyable) parts of blogging. Again, I’ve been too busy focusing on school to really try to reach out to other bloggers, but this year that is going to change. I can’t wait to meet and get to know other bloggers, and my readers! And if you have any questions for me, suggestions for a post, or just want to say hi (please do!) I’d love to hear from you, whether its a comment, email, Facebook or wherever!
Less Planning and More Doing
As an organizer, I am naturally a planner. I am also a perfectionist. Neither of those things are necessarily bad by themselves, but combined, they kill me. If I’m working on a project, or a post or whatever, I want it to be perfect so bad, that I plan…and plan…and plan, until its a month later and nothing has gotten done. This is clearly not the most productive way to get things done. Instead of insanely planning out every single detail, I could just be jumping right in (with a general plan) and hoping for the best. Not everything has to be perfect. So my goal for myself is to stop planning, analyzing and doubting, and just getting in there and getting it done, whatever ‘it’ may be.
More Dedicated Blog Time
Now that I’ve graduated college, and am just taking a couple additional classes to prepare for my career, I have a lot more free time. Without having a set schedule for classes, I find my days have a lot less structure. If I don’t plan out my days and how I’m going to spend my time, I’ll just float from one this to another, waste some time watching TV, and not really getting any solid work done. Since I’m passionate about my blog, and want to see it succeed, I’m challenging myself to treat blog time as work time. I want to have set times to sit down and work on my blog. I’m hoping this will increase my productivity, and help with most of the other goals I set for myself.
So there you have it. I told you all about what I’ve learned in my first year of blogging, and what I want to accomplish in my second. Now what about you? Do you have any advice for other bloggers that you’ve learned along the way? Do you share any of my goals? If so, how do you plan to accomplish them? I’d love all the help I can get!
Come back tomorrow to celebrate my official 1 year Blogiversary with me, I’ll be sharing some fun stats and information about the blog with you guys! And be sure to enjoy this beautiful summer weekend!